Thursday, December 10, 2009

What if the Singularity Doesn't Happen?

There is a great deal of interesting conversation around the topic of 'What if the Singularity Doesn't Happen?' Or what if it doesn't happen all at the same time. The latest issue of H+ magazine offers a glimpse into the idea that strong AI doesn't happen. What could still be built at a nanoscale without an AI doing the designing for us?

Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age posits a future in which there have been few, if any, advances in AI from the current standpoint, yet nanotech is everywhere its visionaries hope it will be. Zeppelins composed of diamondoid spheres filled with vacuum float serenely over societies fractured by a complete disintegration of the geographically based Nation-State in favor of the 'Phyle' in an era when the size of your borders is the area you must defend from nanotech incursions.

But perhaps the most compelling single article on this topic comes from Vernor Vinge, who coined the term Singularity. He suggests three scenarios for if the Singularity doesn't happen.

The Return to MADness is the nuclear winter scenario. Pretty classic.

More interesting is the Golden Age, in which we decide to stop at some point. After a gentle recursion as populations balance, we enter a static state of blissful lack of progress.

The final scenario he thinks worth mentioning is the Wheel of Time. In this scenario, a mixture of the other two occur. Every time Humanity gets close to the Singularity, somebody pushes a big red button and blasts us back to the stone age, but not to extinction, starting the cycle over. In a sense, this scenario has our current state of being acting as a golden age, and getting much further than we are puts us over the edge.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

HCS Speech Outline

On Tuesday I am presenting to the Harvard Computer Science club a fifty three minute talk about possible futures of computing.

It's been rough! Just try and think of something interesting to say to some of the brightest computer programmers in the world. Especially when your interests are in computer programming... but without a technical background.

I've decided to focus on four key points; First, a look at Drones. Everything being done with drones, including ever advancing UAVs, and self-propelled CNC robots. I'll float some of the MIT CSAIL work by them and point out that it's mostly a software problem to make these things... so why aren't they involved? The question this stuff is meant to inspire is; Why would I mention this to computer scientists, and not save it for roboticists?

Because point 2 is Drone Fusion. This part of the talk will look at gaming, the growth of AI for specific situations and how UIs are getting more streamlined and easier to use, and comment on how a savvy programmer or forty could definitely find a place linking Drones and RTS, or in other types of Augmented Reality. Fusing drones and real life real time strategy is already being done in the field of drone farming, some cool projects like FourSquare, which has been augmented with 4mapper to be what I would call an RLRTS sort of app. Others include the Monopoly City Streets program from Google and, to a lesser extent, Google's project to CAD Every Building On Earth (Boston is being worked on as we speak!).
I hope i'll get some good questions on this topic. I think it's a fascinating field, and these are the people who could do the most to make it a reality instead of the whimsical dream of every RTS player.

Third, I want to touch on some of the neural interface, Brain Computer Interface, and brain simulation information that's been piquing my interest lately. This topic, surprisingly, touches on the first and second topics. Tenuous links, perhaps, but enough tenuous links make a pretty strong tie-in. I'll also cover some of the work at the University of Adelaide on Biomimetic Algorithms, simulating a fly brain in computer science to improve flight capabilities of drones. This'll be a brief section, I just want to make sure that nobody in the Harvard Computer Science club decides to go into a boring part of Comp Sci just because they don't know that cool stuff like this is being done out there!

Finally I'll briefly mention some of the alternative paradigms for computing which I think haven't seen enough use and ask the HCS some questions about it. This part will include questions like;
Why aren't chaotic algorithms used more often in software creation? Genetic Algorithms were appallingly successful in this robotics experiment, to link back to points 1 and 2. As a more practical example, a genetic algorithm to automatically generate new pages and optimize websites based on metrics (which are already absurdly available).
Why isn't game design taught to every comp sci major? Instead, it's reserved for specialized programs. That seems odd to me. I'm curious why they aren't interested in game design. Or if they are, I'd like to know that as well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How and Why to apply to Mail at NonProfit Standard Mail Prices

As a project for my work at T.H.E. BRAIN TRUST, I've been asked to figure out how to apply to mail at nonprofit standard mail prices. This post will be a how-to and a why-to, with a cost/benefit analysis and the procedure we're using to apply.

The first thing we did is go to the postal service and find form 3624, the application to mail at nonprofit standard mail prices. This form requires several forms of proof that you are, in fact, a nonprofit and not a lying for-profit.

These forms of proof include 1 of the following;
-an IRS letter of exemption from payment of federal income tax,
-a financial statement prepared by an independent auditor proving your nonprofit status (which must include balance sheets, notes, etc.),
-a place of worship.

Don't ask me whether they want you to mail your place of worship to them, I didn't need to use that part of the form. I hope not, the postage would convince you there is no god.

You also need a copy of one of the following;
-your articles of incorporation (you do not need a certified copy),
-your articles of association,
-your charter,
-your constitution,
-your enabling legislation,
-your trust indenture,
-something else which you can try and explain but knowing the gov't will probably get rejected.

Finally, you need some proof that you are operating. a few copies of several of the following work;
-financial statements,
-listing of activities for the past 6-12 months,
-membership applications,
-minutes of meetings,
-organizational or other documents substantiating that the applicant is the state or national committee of the political party,
-a copy of the statute, ordinance or other authority establishing responsibility for voter registration.

We're sending in some brochures and form 990s for the last couple of years.

So, we filled out our form 3624, found that crap (articles of inc, IRS letter, the brochures and 990s), and thought we were done! But a quick call to the post office (always a good idea when dealing with the gov't) informed us that we were, in fact, only beginning! And we still didn't even know if it would be worth it for a small non-profit like us to apply for this thing.

The issue now was that you have to mark the mail in your nonprofit bulk mailing (bulk and standard mailings are the same in post-office terminology) stuff somehow. All of the options for doing so require another layer of paperwork. But they have no permit application fees required. Well, except another three hours or so making sure you did the form just right, ha, ha, ha. That obviously doesn't count. And i guess there's one of the options that doubles your costs in the venture. But moving on!

So, with your form 3624 and associated materials in hand, you go to your general mailing office. These are apparently not marked any differently from regular post offices, you'll have to call your local mail requirements office (Also not marked differently. Call your post office and ask for it. You didn't really think that this guide would save you all of your phone calls to the gov't, did you?) to find out which one is right for you. In our case it was the Boston General Mailing office and we go to room 1004.

Again, all you need to bring with you on this trip is form 3624, 2 forms of ID (one photo), and the money for your permit to mail at bulk rates (185 or so). If you want to leave with a rubberstamp for your mail bring another 185. I'll get to why.

The person taking your form 3624 will tell you you're applying for one of These Things in the office;
A postage meter/a license to use one. Companies own the postage meters and will rent them to you if you have a license.
Precanceled stamps! Which require the form
Permit imprint- rubber stampy thing you use to stamp your special, special mail.

Regardless of which, annual fee of $185. The stamp (permit imprint) has a special fee of another $185. Because rubber stamps are so expensive. We'll get into whether this is worth it in a sec.

So, we bring our app down to general mailing room 1004, (along with 2 forms of ID, one photo), fill out the app for permit, submit 3624 along with documentation, after deciding which one of the above to use. You walk out with your stampy thing or the ability to use precanceled stamps or your license to use the postage meter. The application to mail as a nonprofit takes a couple weeks to go through.

If you decide to mail while pending, you mail at normal rates. If you are approved, your approval is retroactive to the day you handed it in and you can apply for a refund by Writing a letter to the mailing office including a copy of the mailing statement.

So! Now we know how. Time to figure out whether or not to do it!

We're sending out about 3k letters, once or twice per year. There are size requirements on bulk/standard mailings (i don't know why they call it standard when you are mailing in bulk, but the post office people will keep saying standard and that's what it means), but our couple of pieces of paper and a brochure are well within normal letter requirements.

The basic thing to consider here is that if you're sending out a bulk mailing anyway, you pay the 185 regardless of whether it's for profit or not for profit. So that's not worth considering for us, due to the whole retroactive nonprofit status thing, and the fact that the mailing at nonprofit status thing doesn't cost us anything.

However, we can mail all this junk first class instead of as a bulk mailing. Which is obviously more expensive, but the way we'll figure out how much we'll save with our nonprofit application.

First class costs 44c/letter. For a nonprofit bulk mailing, it's 17.2c/letter. So a 27c difference per letter. The mail guy said the bulk mailing could be a little cheaper depending on sorting, where it's going, barcoding, and a bunch of other maily things our nonprofit probably doesn't have time to do (if yours does you probably have time to have someone look into them on your own), but the most you pay is 17.2c.

So if we do 2 mailings of 3k per year, 6k *44c is 2644 dollars at first class rates. For standard non-profit, it's 6k* 17.2 is 1072 dollars, plus the annual fee for the ability to send out bulk mailings is 1217. The charge to be able to send out bulk mailings is an anniversary fee, not a calendar year one, meaning it goes for 1 year from the date bought.

So our savings are about 1400 dollars for two mailings, and i bet we could cram the two mailings into one anniversary schedule if we wanted to, even though we generally send out only 1 mailing of 3k per year. Would the hassle of trying to do that every two years be worth the saved 185? Would it be worth the saved 370 for both the bulk mailing permit and a permit stamp? Probably not, depends on the wages of whoever's doing it.

If we were only sending out 3k per year our savings are (3000*.44)- (3000*.172 +185), or 1320-701, or 619. Still almost pays for the two weeks it took me to figure this out. Our savings per letter might also add up over the course of the year. Every time we send out 685 letters we save back the cost of the bulk mailing permit, and another 685 would cover the stamp. So we're in the money for the whole thing, but for someone with less than 685 letters per year it might not be worth it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Maker Faire RI

The Maker Faire was the Saturday before last. Willoughby and Baltic sent down a contingent I was proud to be a part of. Some pics of our table were up in the flickr pool for the event, with our banner prominent. Went very well overall, lots of new friends! Met up with the MakerBot guys, got to see a lot of samples displayed prominently near our robot (theirs wasn't working, too cold for the bare bones RepRap frame.). Overall, a very productive event.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Singularity Readings, Upcoming Events

I'm attending the Iron Chef Sculpture competition, hosted by Maker Faire RI, as well as their DIY workshops next week.

Then, of course, the Maker Faire itself on the 19th.

After that, the Singularity Summit in NY has caught my eye. They have an amazing list of readings to tear through.

Some interesting ones;

10 Intro Publications

Ethical Issues in Advanced Artificial Intelligence
Nick Bostrom
What is Nanotechnology?
Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
Artificial General Intelligence: Now Is the Time
Ben Goertzel
Special Report: The Singularity
IEEE Spectrum
Why the Future Doesn't Need Us
Bill Joy
Why Work Toward the Singularity?
Singularity Institute
The Basic AI Drives
Steve Omohundro
The Conversational Interface
John Smart
The Coming Technological Singularity
Vernor Vinge
AI as a Positive and Negative Factor in Global Risk
Eliezer Yudkowsky

Also; if you aren't on the Brazen Careerist social network, it seems promising! Designed for Generation Y (read; you and me), it focuses on interests as opposed to work experience. I started a singularity group on it, join up to meet people whose interests and work focus on the Singularity.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Catching Up.

Image courtesy of the Industrial Decay Blog. More updates soon, I'm getting settled into Boston.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chaos, Swans, and Counterinsurgency

Socwall gives us one of Leonid Afremov's beautiful works.

I read Ms. Sramana Mitra's interesting post on An Innovation Conundrum. She does a great job of looking at 'Capitalism' from a Randian, entrepreneurial perspective. The article mentions the issues of culture existing in America's capitalism, specifically the value of speculators v. creators, movement from education to finance, and concludes with a note that "the rewards of prestige and money should go to the value creators, not the speculators."

I've been keeping track of Chaos theory since reading James Gleick's Chaos, Making a New Science. I've been looking at Outliers and Black Swans since reading Malcolm Gladwell's Article on Taleb, then reading the Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness. I've been an avid student of David Galula's Counterinsurgency- Theory and Practice, "a taxonomy of favourable and unfavourable settings for a revolutionary war from the point of view of the loyalist or revolutionary forces," since reading it for my Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development class.

And all of these readings combine to say exactly this; building a place where entrepreneurs flourish is a combination of people moving into weird specialties at the right time, the existence of people willing to bet on failure and smart enough to not go under doing so, and Galula's keys for flourishing in the face of outright oppression.

The issue of compensation for creators is based around the fact that creation is always a risky, directly opposed process. In the words of Machiavelli, "The innovator makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old order, and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would prosper under the new."

Once the creation has a foothold and a market, the speculators are rewarded for trying to sell it, simply because there is no way to get closer to creation and remain a profitable large-scale investor. Too many creations have no mass market, flourishing in the long tail but never striking a chord with the everyman.

The creation of these failures can't be subsidized in the view of the large investor, simply because the current distribution systems require a mass market and can't support only the tiny individuals of the long tail.

Yet the failures, built en masse, pave the way for the next big innovation. Without various universities and organizations working in computers and trying to share information piecemeal, no one would have had either the technical expertise to build the foundations for the internet, the knowledge of how and when to use the internet to get it off the ground, or the inspiration to pitch the project to funding.

The 'failures' of trying to build integrated file-sharing communication represented the fractal solutions to the problem of spreading information over computers; a simple formula, acted out on the graph of organizations everywhere, with solutions of differing scales but the same essential nature, sensitive to the initial conditions under which the first solver began working (their expertise, motivation, and team size).

Here is where Chaos theory comes in; that simple equation of a solution to communication using computers was eventually standardized to the point where it was valuable for everyone, allowing it to be profitably scaled up.

But no one, even the eventual creators of the processes leading to the internet, knew what the strange attractor behind these dispersed solutions was.

The entrepreneur needs someone willing to invest in the field they work in and look for strange, scaling solutions to the problems they are individually solving, not someone who thinks the specific solution of a specific business is going to scale into huge profits in the short term.

They need a Venture Chaoticist, not a venture capitalist who works with the idea that evolution is a competitive but linear process, with a solution that is possible to see from the outset to someone smart enough.

The important lesson from Chaos in this field is that you cannot predict what will be necessary to survive the changes from small scale solutions to large scale. You can't even make a reasonable guess as to whether each solution will work. There is no path with a clear solution.

But the underlying question which built the answer being worked on now is worthy of consideration and investment.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Netbooks (Forbes) are pretty cool. Dangerous (Reuters), though.

I have a problem with top-down approaches. Take this one (Reuters). The idea is neat, taking the current patchwork energy grid and making it smarter, so there's less waste and chance of blackout. I doubt if they looked for any other way to achieve it, though. There's something that rankles me about private contractors bidding for government contracts with cost-plus schemes. Probably the horrendous waste.

I guess I should stop staying up so late, because it messes with my metabolism (Lifehacker). Yay for Provigil (Techcrunch).

Brazen Careerist has a way of phrasing her findings and a conversational tone which is quite appealing to me. And she's hot. Her post on finding a mentor by being annoying is also pretty on the mark, from how i've gotten mine.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Winding Road


Lots of interesting news these days. Microsoft building a personal virtual assistant (IHT) capable of scheduling appointments, flights, etc.

More compelling, however, is Laura's ability to make sophisticated decisions about the people in front of her, judging things like their attire, whether they seem impatient, their importance and their preferred times for appointments.

Cool. Now they just need to work on personalizing it enough to incorporate the cool thought-based controller (NYT) and your past habits, to build an avatar of you that can live online and answer messages and such.

An interesting IHT article on expanding broadband access to fight the depression. Ridiculous idea, it'll probably work. Not that it will for the reasons they suggest, or anything reasonable like that, but I'd bet it'll work.

Also a hilarious article on businessweek about how twitter wasn't taken in by Facebook's idiotic valuation games. Just because your company is privately held doesn't mean you can value it differently for different purposes. Really, guys? Really?

Friday, February 27, 2009



Ray Charles' I got a Woman.

I know I mentioned how I'd like to see personal fabrication lean toward making your own homes, electricity, water, and such. I am fascinated by things like this homemade dome (Make Magazine.) out of plastic, wire, and packing peanuts. I like designs where, once you've heard the idea, you can figure out how to do it. They seem more powerful than really complicated ones with lots of specialized materials and such.

I find articles on the U.S. losing its competitive edge in innovation (IHT) amusing. I've heard lots of comparisons between America and the Britain of a hundred years ago, where we're losing our edge and just don't know it yet.

If you, like me, have only the faintest idea what those people are talking about, I highly recommend The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy (Amazon). I picked up a copy while I was traveling a couple years ago, and it's become a book I like to reread every so often to remind myself of how such things are done.

On the topic of transitions, I like this article praising google for killing newspapers ( I also like this article which shows sales of Atlas Shrugged correlated with recent news events. (Economist)

Suspending your disbelief is sometimes as easy as reading the news.

Thursday, February 26, 2009



Found Leon Jean Marie's East End Blues (Songza) from a Tostitos commercial. It's got the feel I like in hip hop and rap songs, like Internal Affairs' Half Empty (A song almost impossible to find on the internet.) and Rock Ya Body Mic Check 1 2 (Google Video).

I got my Myers-Briggs Personality Test (Wikipedia) back, and found out I am an INTP, or Architect. Me and Albert Einstein. From Kiersey's Analysis of Myers-Briggs ( I found;

Ruthless pragmatists about ideas, and insatiably curious, Architects are driven to find the most efficient means to their ends, and they will learn in any manner and degree they can. They will listen to amateurs if their ideas are useful, and will ignore the experts if theirs are not. Authority derived from office, credential, or celebrity does not impress them. Architects are interested only in what make sense, and thus only statements that are consistent and coherent carry any weight with them.

Which is disorienting, because last time I was an ENTJ, Field Marshal, and the time before that an INTJ, Mastermind, and you're never supposed to change types. Of course, I think that having radically different philosophies between taking the test has something to do with it.

As an Architect, i'm annoyed with the test for being so imprecise as to allow such variation.

At least they all have cool names, and I haven't become a defender or something. Wish i was a mastermind again though. Or even a field marshal. Architect is so mundane after those two.

Guess I should judge more.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Orphans of Chaos

I've been reading John C. Wright's Orphans of Chaos (Wikipedia) series, which is an excellent philosophy training manual for a variety of reasons. Thanks, Logan, for the recommendation.

Image is Socwall again.

I'm hearing more and more often (as less hippies write books) about the idea that the brain is a muscle. The point of this is to note that intelligence isn't a predetermined attribute, but is created by constant workouts.

I wonder how many people think morality, culture, and other purely mental 'attributes' are also muscles. I think the muscle perspective itself is a hard concept to grasp, as so much of our life is based on judgments of attributes, not learned behaviors.

In grinding through my college career, in a degree program which is increasingly annoying to me, I've been helped a lot by posts like this one (Study Hacks), which remind me that retention is based on passive, constant small chunks, not cramming.

But then again, it doesn't help if I do a cost-benefit and decide that this crap isn't worth that much time.

They also don't help when there are so many other interesting things (Make Magazine) I could be spending my time learning.

After all, you need 10,000 hours to 'master' something (Genius Catalyst). So shouldn't I be starting on things I really like now, so when i'm 32 I'll rock? 10k hours is almost 10 years of full-time work.

Good thing I'm wasting so much spare time picking up the concepts!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brain Rotting Mushy Mush.

It's a clock (Make Magazine blog). It reads 3:50.

I love this quote from this (makezine) article (;
The local stores carry mass produced machetes and sickles like we have but no one wants them. The local people appreciate a finely crafted steel tool made to exactly suit the work they do.

There is a Market!

More on Videogames, thanks to the enthusiastic response last time. They do the aging brain good (Reuters), can be operated by thought (NYtimes), and may cause the singularity by driving AI development (TerraNova). That last article is also an excellent summary of the singularity, for those of you interested.

I don't think you can separate any discussion on Video Games from the vitriolic faction which declares them to be training manuals for school shootings (Google), destroying our youth (Google), and all-around devil-made (Penny-Arcade). The last link is completely irrelevant, though humorous.

I also don't think you can separate a discussion on video games from discussions on text messaging, IM, social networking, and those things causing harm or benefit. They're all tools that youth are using to enjoy themselves and build skills, although most have no idea that they're building skills.

So what can we separate video game discussions from?

I dunno. Maybe platypi. They're surprisingly underused in videogames. Except this one, named platypus, which is not about a platypus.

They're so weird.

Monday, February 23, 2009

No Rest

Across The Universe's Hold Me Tight (songza). Itunes Preset-Dance. Brings out the hidden Sax.

Image is from Socwall again. A guy names Steven Haseloff, he does good work.

I think Video Games are the ultimate learning medium. This is based on the fact that I still know the types of almost all 150 original Pokemon (Bulbapedia), thousands of years of made-up history from various games, and all the benefits and detriments of the Demonology v. Corruption talent tree debate from World of Warcraft (Official site). Demonology forever.

I like finding out new ways the Nintendo DS has been used to teach things, since Brain Age ( broke the idea that portable gaming doesn't have to be frivolous. The DS can also be used as an Ebook Reader (Make Magazine), and web browser.

The convergence of technology means that making a video game which teaches useful skills is increasingly likely, although nobody's figured out yet that a Biochemistry RPG with chemicals as items is not only a great educational tool, but freaking cool. I'd play that, and I'm not even that into biochemistry.

Well. That's a lie. I love biochem. But I'd play it!

All of which is part of why I'm not surprised that Second Life is giving up on being a central hub for everything, and looking to expand into education (Forbes).

It's just amusing to me that they tried such a silly thing in the first place.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Yeah, I dunno what that turtle's deal is either.

I have my RSS reader (My shared items google reader page) folders set up with names like 'elegance' and 'hax,' and my elegance folder has provided many of the pics which grace the blog.

I have a feed from Socwall which seems to post any picture its users find worthy of desktopping. As a result, sometimes they're neat, sometimes boring, and often interesting.

Some of the other websites I read the RSS posts for are the Make Magazine Blog(, TechCrunch (, The Economist's Science stuff (The Economist), and the Psyblog ( try to have a couple of updates from each of my fields every day. It keeps internet life interesting. And I scan the headlines of major news sources, though I almost never read any articles.

And, of course, i read my webcomics (Penny-Arcade, Sam And Fuzzy, Dr. McNinja, QC, ScaryGoRound, XCKD, and LICD being the favs.).

One must keep up on the modern sense of humor, after all.

I found using ManicTime (Manic Time Download Site), a program from the Lifehacker blog (relevant post), that making a blog post takes about a half hour. Relatively cheap way to make my internet time more productive, no?

Manic Time is sweet, it even breaks down your internet time by how much you spend on each tab and website. I haven't started fiddling with the tagging system, but maybe i will. I've always wanted to be consistent enough with a journal to keep track of my time, maybe having this passive system on my computer would do it.

And maybe it'll become boring in three days.

Also; Scientist looks to weaponize ball lightning (Wired).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Can Love Save the Empty?

Erin McCarley's Love Save The Empty (Songza) iTunes Equalizer- Piano.

Pic is from The Sartorialist again. He has such good pics, I'll have to work to avoid always posting them.

I wonder (too often for my sanity's sake) how the systems we've built are supposed to satisfy us. I mean, they're mostly to improve comfort (here in America) and self-perpetuate. When things like the RepRap (, a $200 plastic 3d printer, and the FabLab (Wikipedia), a garage-sized prototyping center, become widespread, I wonder what people will build.

I hope they start with open-source schematics for a house, power generator, condenser, and greenhouse, and make themselves independent of society. It would amuse me to see a generation suddenly refuse to participate.

We're starting to realize information ( is impossible to guard. What happens when anything can be built at home, instead of bought? Long ways off, I know, but I like thinking about it.

Maybe instead of a Singluarity (wikipedia) we'll have a Plurality, where everyone starts singularity-ing by themselves. A fusion of intelligence, with no fusion of purpose like singularity theory seems to imply.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Music Fiddlin.

I fiddled with the equalizer presets in iTunes for a while on Joanna Newsom's Colleen (Songza). I found the classical setting pulls all the diverse instruments out. It's neat how well it highlights the (awesome) accordion run around 2:18, considering the Accordion isn't really 'classical.'

Pic is from The Sartorialist, I really like the look on her face. Very confident.

I love fiddling with equalizer presets in iTunes. Sometimes it seems like another song is hidden within an old favorite. Try it, right-click and go to 'Get Info,' then into 'Options.' Try some weird ones. The unexpected ones are often the best.

Some good ones I did today;

Ingrid Michaelson's The Chain (Songza). Vocal booster.
The Subways' Kalifornia (Songza). Acoustic.
Jackson 5's I Want You Back (Songza). Lounge. (See what I mean?)
Sam & Dave's Hold On I'm Comin (Songza). Latin.
Fleet Foxes' Mykonos (Alternate Version) (Songza). Electronic. (Probably the weirdest preset/song combo of the lot. It just sounds so good.)
The Shins' Australia (Songza). Spoken Word.
The Bioshock Soundtrack's Cohen's Masterpiece. Treble Reducer took off the crunch that was on the version I had.

And now it's just a list of some of my favorite songs.

I'd like to note that I was very upset when Songza transitioned out of its old format (causing me to lose some excellent songs, like Iron Horse's Float On cover (songza) , which I had previously only found on Songza.[which I just found again, looking for it.][Just now! I lost it for like five months. I was so mad.]).

But the new partnership with imeem has made doing this list much easier. Not only is it a two-click process to buy a song off songza through itunes (money just flying out of my wallet. Poof!), but the versions of the songs I have on my comp are the exact same as the ones on songza.

Even that weird Mykonos alternate version was the same.

(compare it to the original Fleet Foxes Mykonos (songza). Yeah, it's a weird set of changes, but good. Better than the original, in my opinion.)(sidenote; I know you're not going to do that. I actually just want to have all those music links in one place. It's my blog, i do what I want!)

Also made the comparisons more fun; I got to play the equalized version while i was checking the songza links and see just how awesome I am! I used Foxytunes ( to easily switch between the two versions. (Foxytunes may be my favorite firefox plugin, mostly because Flashblock ( is annoying when i'm trying to watch a lot of videos.)(but awesome all the rest of the time.)

Mine sound way better. Try it! It'll make you feel like a big-time producer. Pullin' in cash moneys for mad beatz.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Things of Interest

Joanna Newsom's Colleen. (Songza) Celtic styled song, beautiful in its lyricism and instrumentation.
"Have you come, then, to rescue me?"
He laughed and said, "from what, 'Colleen'?"
You dried and dressed most willingly.
you corseted, and caught the dread disease
by which one comes to know such peace."

Siftables.(TED Talk) A demonstration of computerized building blocks with amazing capabilities and interactivity.

Barry Schwartz. (TED Talk) What wisdom means, and how it affects our lives.

Exorcizing Laplace's Demon. (Dresden Codak) Dres Cod can always make me laugh. I paid him 20 bucks to keep making comments. Wish i could give him a pension, so he could update more often.

A surprisingly noteworthy pair of updates from Seth Godin's blog. Authenticity (Seth Godin's Blog) and Irrationality (Seth Godin's Blog). It must be interesting to be known as a guru.

Praise for Intelligence Destroys work ethics(NYmag). Explains a lot. Also meshes well with some notes from Gladwell's Outliers(Gladwell's Blog, a summary of topics from the book.).